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Seven Short Stories About Seven Leading Theatres of Europe

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  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Seven Leading Theatres of Europe is a presentation about the glorious, turbulent and twenty-five centuries young existence of European theatres created by George Djordjevic. From its beginning in Ancient Greece to the Comédie Française in Paris, the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, the Moscow Art Theatre in Moscow, the Ekhof Theatre in Gotha, the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and beyond, people have been attending performances to be entertained, educated and to explore the most inner part of human nature. The theatre is a place, where we go to meet and socialize with others in the real sense, face to face. Viewed in this way, theatre according to George Djordjevic, should be considered not only as one of the first “social networks” but also as the social network with the most followers of all time. Only time will tell how the 25 century young theatre and the new technologies of tomorrow will complement one another. Still, George Djordjevic suggests, we can be sure of one thing, new technology must be acceptable to the most inner part of our nature, and not the other way around. In other words, theatre is here to stay. To learn more about George Djordjevic Workshops and lectures please go to:
  3. 3. Θέατρο του Διονύσου The Theater of Dionysus; Athens, Greece The Theater of Dionysus is the best known theatre of Ancient Greece. When finished in 360 BC the theatre had 17,000 seats and superb acoustic, a quality associated with all Greek theatres. It is here that the most prestigious drama festival in Ancient Greece was held in early April of each year. Tragedies written 25 centuries ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, as well as comedies written by Aristophanes and Menander all premiered here and started their three millennium long run though theatres around the world.
  4. 4. Comédie Française; Paris, France The Comédie Française is the oldest theatre company in Europe today. It was founded by a decree of the Louis XIV on August 24, 1680 by merging two Parisian acting troupes of the time, the troupe of the Hôtel Guénégaud and that of the Hôtel de Bourgogne. The repertoire of the Comédie Française at that time consisted of a collection of theatrical works by Molière, named one of the greatest masters of comedy of the Western literature, and Jean Racine. Works by Pierre Corneille, Paul Scarron and Jean Rotrou were performed as well. At the beginning of the 18th Century plays written by Voltaire, Destouches, Gresset, Piron and Fagan where added to the repertory. During the 19th Century the repertoire included plays by Hugo, Dumas, Pailleron and Coppée. To date, the repertoire of Comédie-Française has reached 3,000 works.
  5. 5. Burgtheater, Vienna, Austria In 1776 the Teutsches Nationaltheater, as it was then called, was placed under court administration by a royal decree signed by Joseph II. In 1794, the theatre was renamed “K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg”. On October 14th, 1888 the company’s new theatre building, seen here, opened its doors to the public. In 1918 the imperial theater was renamed the Burgtheater and passed into ownership of the state. It is the second oldest theatre company in Europe today and the first national theatre of the German-speaking world During the 19th century the repertoire included popular works of Western drama. In addition the repertoire included very popular light comedies of Viennese life written by Eduard von Bauernfeld. Together with adaptations of ancient Greek and Spanish baroque dramas by Franz Grillparzer, this helped to established Vienna as a “theatre city” with an international outlook.
  6. 6. Московский академический театр Moscow Art Theatre; Moscow, Russia Established by Konstantin S. Stanislavsky and Vladimir I. Nemirovich-Danchenko in 1898. The core of the company was formed from students of the drama branch of the Musical-Drama School of the Moscow Philharmonic Society and the students of the Art and Literature Amateurs Society. It opened on October 14, 1898 with the play “Tsar Fedor Ioanovich” by Alexei Tolstoy. Dramas written by Anton Chekhov The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, and Maxim Gorky, The Petty Bourgeoisie and Lower Depths, as well as “Woe from Wit” by A. S. Griboedov, Blue Bird” by M. Meretlink, “A Month in the Country” by I. S. Turgenev, “Hamlet” by W. Shakespeare, “The Imaginary patient” (“Le Malade imaginaire”) by J. B. Moliere and others were among the best performances of the Moscow Art Theatre. In 1912, studios for the preparation of actors were created under the MAT. Today, a century later, the Moscow Art Theatre and Stanislavsky with his System are recognized as pioneers of a new, and the most successful, trend in the history of acting and new principals of direction.
  7. 7. Shakespeare’s Globe, London, UK The Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan Playhouse built in 1597 by the playing company “Lord Chamberlain's Men”. The company held exclusive rights to perform Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare was a member of this company, together with Richard Burbage, one of the most famous English actors of Renaissance era, who played leading roles in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. The Lord Chamberlain’s Man became the King's Men in 1603 with King James as company's patron. In 1644, the Globe Theatre was demolished. In 1970, American actor and director Sam Wanamaker founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust and the International Shakespeare Globe Centre, with the objective of building a faithful recreation of Shakespeare's Globe; based on available evidence. Today’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre is located near its original location, in the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames.
  8. 8. Ekhof Theatre; Gotha, Germany Founded in 1775 when the Duke of Saxe-Gotha invited the actor Konrad Ekhof to form the first permanent court theatre in Germany in the 18th Century. Upon its formation, the theatre was housed in the Friedenstein Palace, the largest early Baroque palace in the area. Being the first regular court theatre among the Germany’s theatre network, the Gotha Court Theatre is considered the birthplace of modern German theatre. Today, theatre is still equipped with the same, nicely preserved, fully functioning stage machinery from the time of its formation. During his short directorship, Conrad Ekhof, referred to as the “Father of German acting” and creator of the realistic style in theatre, was able to establish a theatre with many unique assets: fixed days of performance, regular salaries, a growing repertoire, subscriptions, tickets sold to all citizens, subsidies, and a pension fund. He died in 1778. After his death the name of the theatre change in his honor to the Ekhof Theatre.
  9. 9. Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy The Teatro la Scala was founded under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre, which was destroyed by fire on 26 February 1776. La Scala opened on 3 August 1778 with Antonio Salieri's opera L'Europa riconosciuta, with a libretto by Mattia Verazi. Great successes of the operas by Gioachino Rossini, Geatano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini performed for the first time in La Scala in the early part of the 19th century and Gioseppe Verdi’s work, whose name is associate to La Scala more then any other in La Scala history, starting in 1842, with first performance of Nabucco, established La Scala as one of the all premiere opera houses in the world. At the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, during Rossini’s era, choreographers Salvatore Vigano i Carlos Blasis were credited with adding ballet to operas. Almost 100 years after its opening, in 1872, La Scala became the property of the City of Milan. Theatre was closed during the WWI.In 1920 the conductor Arturo Toscanini led a council to raise money to reopen it, organizing it as an autonomous corporation. In 1997 La Scala was converted to a Foundation under private ownership, thus opening a decisive phase of modernization.
  10. 10. INFORMATION Additional lectures of this series created and presented by George Djordjevic include: Leading Theatres of North America Leading Theatres of South America Leading Theatres of Central America Leading Theatres of Africa Leading Theatres of Asia Leading Theatres Of Australia Leading Directors At Work All lectures are approximately two hours long. To learn more about George Djordjevic Workshops and Lectures please go to: COVER PHOTO: The National Theatre; Praha, Czech Republic. Used with permission. MUSIC: FROM SOUL AND SPIRIT. COPYRIGHT. USED WITH PERMISSION